Why did Allah (s.w.t.) not create mankind perfect from the onset?

This objection stems from an oversight of the fact that the main branch of perfection is voluntary perfection. In other words, perfection (and development) means that man traverses the path using his own feet and by means of his resolve. If he were to be held by the hand and taken by force, neither would it be a matter of glory nor would real perfection be achieved.

For example, if a person out of his own will decided to give one riyal from his wealth in charity, he would have progressed towards moral perfection in that same ratio, whereas if millions were to be taken forcefully from him and given in charity, he would not have advanced even one step towards this goal. It is for this reason that in various verses of the Qur’an this reality has been asserted that had Allah (s.w.t.) desired, all the people would have become believers, under compulsion. However such faith would not have proved beneficial to them.1

وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا

“And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the Earth would have believed – all of them.”2
1. Ibid., vol. 13, pg. 375
2. Surat Yunus (10), Verse 99

What is the purpose of mankind’s creation?


It is rare to find someone who has not asked himself or others the question: “What is the purpose of our creation?” A group of people continuously come into this world while another group leave it, becoming extinguished for ever – what is the idea behind this coming and going?

If we humans had not been living on this planet, what difference would it have made? Is it necessary for us to know why we have come and why we shall go? If we discover the reason, do we have the ability to acquire this objective? Subsequent to this question, numerous other questions loom, plaguing man’s mind and thoughts.

Whenever the materialists ask themselves this question, they apparently cannot answer it since matter does not possess perception and intellect for it to pursue an objective. Hence, they have put themselves at ease in this regard by convincing themselves of the insignificance of man’s creation!

Is it not strange that these people envision precise aims and plan systematic programs for the minute details of life such as education, job, work, treatment, medication and sports, but, when they view life as a whole, they considers it to be aimless?

Thus, it is not astonishing that when a group from amongst such people reflect upon these issues, they become discontented by this vain and purposeless life and consequently resort to suicide.

However, when a God-worshipping person asks himself this question, he never finds himself in despair. Primarily, he knows that the Creator of this world is Wise and therefore His act of creation is undoubtedly based on wisdom – although some men might not be aware of it; secondly, viewing every part of himself, he observes that each one possesses an objective. Not only the brain, heart, blood vessels and the nerves, but even the nails, eyelashes, fingerprints, the depressions in the palms and the feet; each has a philosophy attached to its presence which has been identified and proven today.

How naïvely we reflect when we consider all of these to individually possess a purpose but to collectively lack an objective!

What kind of absurd judgment it is that identifies an objective for the construction of each building within a city, yet denies the existence of any purpose for the city itself!

Is it conceivable that an engineer constructs a great building in which all the rooms, passages, doors, hatches, ponds, gardens and the décors have been meticulously built with a particular purpose in mind, whilst the building itself has been constructed without any objective?

These are the points which provide conviction to a believing person that this creation pursues a great objective, which he should strive to comprehend by means of his intellect.

Furthermore, it is amazing that when the advocates of the purposelessness of creation venture into the fields of physical sciences, they relentlessly endeavor to uncover the aim of various phenomena which they happen come across; so much so that they are unwilling to consider the insignificance of even one small gland situated in a corner of the body – experimenting for years to uncover the reason behind its existence. However, when it comes to the creation of man, they unequivocally claim it to be without an objective! What a bizarre contradiction!

In any event, belief in the Wisdom of Allah (s.w.t.) and attention towards the purpose of the various parts of man, imparts a firm conviction to us that there exists a great significance behind the creation of man.

Having comprehended this, we ought to strive to understand this purpose and, to the best of our abilities, set off towards achieving it.

Attention towards one fundamental point might serve to illuminate our path and thereby make our journey easier:

All of our actions are always motivated by an objective; and this goal usually involves combating our flaws and fulfilling our requirements. Even acts such as serving someone, helping a person in distress or practicing self-sacrifice; each serve to do away with shortcomings and fulfill our spiritual needs.

Accordingly, in contemplating the attributes and acts of Allah (s.w.t.) we usually blunder by comparing them with ours, often asking: What flaws and shortcomings did Allah (s.w.t.) possess that could possibly be eliminated by creating us? Or, when we read in the Qur’an, which states that the purpose of man’s creation is worshipping Allah (s.w.t.), we ask: Why does He need our worship? We do not realize that these thoughts stem from an erroneous comparison of the attributes of the Creator with the created.

Man indeed is a limited and confined entity which strives to do away shortcomings and hence concentrates its efforts towards achieving this objective. However, this concept is meaningless with respect to an Entity that is unlimited and infinite, and hence we ought to seek the objective and purpose of His acts in entities other than Him.

He is an abundant overflowing spring and the bounty-creating Originator who, having taken the entire creation within the canopy of His support, nourishes and fosters them, leading them from imperfection towards perfection. This is the actual purpose of our servitude (towards Allah (s.w.t.) ) and this is the philosophy of our worship and prayers, which are indeed training classes for leading us towards perfection.

Consequently we conclude that the purpose of our creation is the (achievement) of perfection of our selves.

Basically, the actual act of creation – that is to move from non-existence into existence, from a non-entity into an entity, from zero to a figure – is a huge step towards perfection, subsequent to which start the other phases that lead towards this goal, including the entire religious set-up which emphasizes this objective.1
1. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 22, pg. 389

Do Shiites differentiate between Allah and Imams?


Like all other schools, Shiite school has been encountering extremist groups that are called by different names such as ghulāt (exaggerators), muqassera and nawasib and which have, in the course of history, created difficulties for Shiites and their Imams.

Shiite Imams made continuous efforts to protect Shiites from the dangers posed by these deviant currents. By clarifying their position and recommending moderation in all affairs and by repelling corrupt agents and exposing their true personality and their real purposes they tried to consolidate original Shiite beliefs among Muslims especially their followers.

While demonstrating miraculous acts and some distinct traits for Imams, Shiite scholars excommunicated the ghulāt and explained the mistakes in their extremist ideas.

Why old age is brilliant light on the Day of Resurrection


As in hadith below it is explained, why old age is brilliant light on the day of Resurrection? Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, ‘I have never seen anything catch up with something faster than old age catches up with a believer, for verily it is a source of dignity for the believer in this world and a brilliant light for him on the Day of Resurrection. Allah, Most High, honoured Abraham (AS) with it [old age], who said, ‘What is this, my Lord?’ to which Allah replied, ‘This is dignity’, so Abraham said, ‘O my Lord, increase me in dignity then.’[Amali al-Tusi, p. 699, no. 1492]
Concise answer
In the religion of Islam, old age has been considered to be a privilege for the aged in order for others to respect them. There are two sets of traditions in this regard one of which emphasizes on respecting aged people under all circumstances without restrictions. The holy Prophet of Islam (S) has been narrated as having said:  “Whoever knows the merit and respect of old age and respect the aged ones, God will relieve him of the fear and horror of the Day of Resurrection.[1]
Imam Sadiq (A.S) said, “He is not from us, who does not respect the old and do not have pity on children.”[2]
Another set of traditions have also been reported about respecting aged and faithful Muslims. Respecting aged ones who are Muslim and faithful has been stressed upon. The Holy Prophet (S) has been reported as having said: “Whoever respects a Muslim (man or woman) whose hair has turned white due to old age in the way of Islam, God will relieve him of the fear and horror of the Day of Resurrection.”[3]
Imam Sadiq (A.S) said: “Respecting a white-haired believer, is a part of respecting the Lord. Whoever respects a believer has begun to respect God and whoever disregards a white-haired believer, God will designate someone to belittle him.”[4]
For an old and aged Muslim person especially he who is believing one, in addition to worldly respect accorded to him in the religion, old age has been considered to be a privilege for the aged on the Day of Resurrection. The whiteness of the hair will be for him as brilliant light on the Day of Resurrection.
In this regard, Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, says: “I have never seen anything catch up with something faster than old age catches up with a believer, for verily it is a source of dignity for the believer in this world and a brilliant light for him on the Day of Resurrection. Allah, Most High, honoured Abraham (AS) with it [old age], who said, ‘What is this, my Lord?’ to which Allah replied, ‘This is dignity’, so Abraham said, ‘O my Lord, increase me in dignity then.”[5]
Also, else where Imam Sadiq (A.S) said: “A man went to the Prophet (S) who looked at his hair and said that it was light. He whose hair has become white in Islam, the whiteness of his hair will turn to brightness on the Day of Resurrection.”[6]

One of the reasons for the fact that this sign of old age will be brilliant light for the believer is that an aged man has had more opportunity to worship God and attain the degrees of faith (iman) and also to get rid of the darkness of ignorance and nafs (carnal soul).  Since he has availed himself of the opportunity acquiring the light of faith, as evidenced by many verses of the Holy Quran[7] and that God himself places the divine light in a believer’s heart,[8] and the believer had been increasing the brilliance of his body and soul, God the Exalted will make his hair a sign of the brilliant light of his soul, the light which he has gained as a result of worshipping Allah and acquiring some degrees of faith.

[1]  [1].«مَنْ عَرَفَ فَضْلَ کَبِیرٍ لِسِنِّهِ فَوَقَّرَهُ آمَنَهُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَزَعِ یَوْمِ الْقِیَامَةِ» Kulayni, Muhammad, Al-Kafi, researched and edited by Ghaffari, Ali Akbar, Akhundi, Muhammad, vol.2, p. 658, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, fourth edition, 1407 A.H.
[2] «لَیْسَ مِنَّا مَنْ لَمْ یُوَقِّرْ کَبِیرَنَا، وَ یَرْحَمْ صَغِیرَنَا»  Sheikh Hurr Amili, Muhammad bin Hasan, Hidayat al-Ummah Ila Ahkam al-Aemmah (A), vol.5, p. 156, Astaan al-Razawiyah al-Muqaddash, Majma’ al-Bohuth al-Islamiyah, Mashad, first edition, 1414 A.H.
[3] «مَنْ وَقَّرَ ذَا شَیْبَةٍ فِی ‏الْإِسْلَامِ ‏آمَنَهُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلّ َمِن ْفَزَعِ یَوْمِ الْقِیَامَةِ» Al-Kafi, vol.2, p. 658.
[4] «مِنْ إِجْلَالِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ إِجْلَالُ الْمُؤْمِنِ ذِی الشَّیْبَةِ وَ مَنْ أَکْرَمَ مُؤْمِناً فَبِکَرَامَةِ اللَّهِ بَدَأَ وَ مَنِ اسْتَخَفَّ بِمُؤْمِنٍ ذِی شَیْبَةٍ أَرْسَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَیْهِ مَنْ یَسْتَخِفُّ بِهِ قَبْلَ مَوْتِهِ»،  Al-Kafi, vol.2, p. 658.
[5] Sheikh Tusi, Al-Amali, al-Nas, p. 699, Dar al-Thaqafah, Qom, first edition, 1414 A.H.
[6] Al-Kafi, vol.6, p. 480.
[7] “And to whomsoever Allah does not give light, he has no light.” [al-Noor, 40] “That is Allah’s grace; He grants it to whom He pleases, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.” [al-Jumu’ah, 4] “He is the one who follows the right way; and whomsoever He causes to err, these are the losers.” [al-A’raf, 178] “his is Allah’s guidance, He guides thereby whom He pleases of His servants.” [ al-An’am, 88]
[8]  Sadruddin Shirazi, Muhammad, Sharh Usool al-Kafi, researched and edited, Khajawi, Muhammad, vol.1, p. 207, Center for Cultural Research and Studies, Tehran, first edition, 1383 A.H

What are the meanings of the informative attributes of Allah?

allahs-99-namesKhabariyah or informative attributes, the definitions and the views expressed concerning them are some of the most contentious issues among various Islamic theological schools. Khabariyah or informative attributes refer to attributes which have been mentioned in the Quran and narrations and that they are not supported by any proofs other than textual evidence.[1] Some examples of the Quranic verses which refer to these attributes are the following:
1. Hand of Allah (Yadullah):
«إِنَّ الَّذِینَ یُبایِعُونَکَ إِنَّما یُبایِعُونَ اللَّهَ یَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَیْدِیهِمْ»[2]
“Surely those who swear allegiance to you do but swear allegiance to Allah; the hand of Allah is above their hands.”
2. Face of Allah (Wajhullah):
«وَ لِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَ الْمَغْرِبُ فَأَیْنَما تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ»[3]
“Unto Allah belong the East and the West, and whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah’s Countenance (face). Lo! Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.”
3. Eye of Allah (Ainullah):
«وَ اصْنَعِ الْفُلْکَ بِأَعْیُنِنا وَ وَحْیِنا»[4]
“And make the ark before Our eyes and (according to) Our revelation, and do not speak to Me in respect of those who are unjust.”
4. Being Established on the Throne:
«الرَّحْمنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوى‏»[5]
“(Allah) Most Gracious is firmly established on the throne (of authority).”
Keeping in view that these verses signify that God, the Glorified is physical and corporeal, it has been agreed by all Muslim scholars that while ascribing such attributes to God, we must suffice to what has been mentioned in the Quran and reliable traditions.  However, different Muslim sects have fallen into dispute concerning the interpretation and meaning of these attributes. Some have likened God to material entities and human beings in the sense that He has eyes and hands like human beings. Some others have denied these attributes with regard to Allah saying that there is no resemblance between God and human beings. However, Shiite theologians relying on traditions and sayings of the Household of the Holy Prophet (S), have their own viewpoint as shall be mentioned.
A) Shia Perspective
The Shia school following the Household (Ahlul-Bayt), peace be upon them, believe that God, the Glorified, is free from matter and that He cannot be likened to anything on the surface of the earth. A careful look at the Quranic verses and the likes will reveal their true purport to us. For instance, Shia scholars unanimously state that the word “yad” (hand) in the Quran refers to God’s power. Thus it means that God is Almighty and All-Powerful.  What is meant by ‘wajh’ is God, the Almighty Himself. That is to say, everything is mortal except God.  As for being establishing on throne, it also means that God is All-Knowing and All-Powerful in contriving and running the world.  Not only should we believe in the denial and likeness and resemblance of Allah to any other things, rather the principle that God is purified of all likeness applies to all divine attributes.  For instance, God’s knowledge  cannot be considered as acquired and external to His essence. God’s knowledge is identical with His essence. It is by presence and infinite. The position is the same with God’s power and life which are infinite and identical with His very essence.
Imam Reza (A.S) has been reported as having said: “In the subject of tawhid (divine unity), people are of three tendencies: “Negation (of the attributes); likening (God’s attributes to physical attributes) and substantiation of the attributes without likening. It is not permissible to deny the attributes nor is it permissible to liken them. And what is the right path and the correct method, is the establishment of the attributes without likening.”[6] That is to say we should believe in these attributes in such a way that we do not end up likening them to physical attributes.
B) The Sefatiyah Viewpoint
Sefatiyah had been one of the theological sects with many sub-divisions including Ash’arites, Mushabbeha and Karamiyah[7]. They did not differentiate between the attributes of essence and the attributes of action. At least, some of them considered certain khabariyah (informative) attributes like “face”, and “yad” (face and hand) as proven for God without any esoteric or anagogical interpretation.  They went as far as to liken divine attributes to those of humans.[8]
C) The Mu’attilah Perspective
Contrary to Sefatiyah sect, the Mu’tazilites were the ones who have denied some of the names and attributes of God and it was for the same reason that they were called “mu’attilah”[9]. In the beliefs, the resemblance between God and His creatures has been negated with regards to Allah the Glorious and Majestic. No one from the creation is similar to Him.[10] This was a short account on the existing viewpoints regarding the attributes of Allah especially the informative ones under question.


[1] Subhani, Ja’far, Simai Aqaed Shia, translated by Muhaddethi, Jawad, p. 66, Mash’ar Publications, Tehran, 1386 A.H.
[2]  Fath (48): 10
[3] Al-Baqarah (2): 115
[4] Hud (11): 37
[5] Ta-ha (20): 5
[6]  The Arabic version of the narration is as such:
«للناس فی التوحید ثلاثة مذاهب: نفی، و تشبیه، و اثبات بغیر تشبیه، فمذهب النفی لا یجوز، و مذهب التشبیه لا یجوز، و السبیل فی الطریقة الثالثة، اثبات بلا تشبیه»
Sheikh Saduq, al-Tawhid, researched and corrected by Hussein, Hashem, p. 101, Islamic Publications Office, Qom, first edition, 1398 A.H.
[7] Mashkoor, Muhammad Jawad, Glossary of Islamic Sects, p. 301, Astaan Quds Razawi, Mashad, second edition, 1372.
[8] Shahristani, Al-Melal wa al-Nehal, researched by Badran, Muhammad, vol.1, p. 105, Al-Sharif al-Razi, qom, 1364.
[9]  Rizwani, Ali Asghar, Shiatology and Answer to Spurious Questions, vol.2, p. 513, Nashr Mash’ar Publication, Tehran, 1384.
[10] Ibn Attiyah, Jamil Hamood, Abha al-Murad, fi Sharh Mu’atmar Ulama Baghdad, vol.2, p. 152, Al-A’alami Institute, Beirut, 1423.

What is the Quranic perspective about the People of the Book?

The Quran, like many other eloquent speeches, have organized its words on the basis of their audience’s needs. In this connection, the personality, conducts, belief etc. of the audience have been taken into consideration.

The Holy Quran has addressed the People of the Book in the same manner. Hence, the verses regarding them have different literatures depending on the type of the audience and the occasion in which the verses have been revealed.

Now, in order for us to draw out a general rule from those verses, we must examine all the verses. The details and conclusions can be read in the detailed answer

What is the meaning of God’s devising?


[dropcap]I[/dropcap]mam Rida (AS) was asked about the attribution of deceit and ridicule to Allah, which the Quran has mentioned, his excellency replied: “Allah Almighty neither ridicules nor deceives or devises against anyone; what He does is requite ridicule, devising and deceit.”[1]

Therefore, Allah devises against those who devise against Him, and this is nothing but a proportionate retribution of their own act. This devising has different degrees that one should never feel secure from[2], the reason being that the self is very deceitful.

For example, when performing certain religious acts, one might become proud of himself and see himself as better and higher than others, and wants to use these acts to attract others and hunt them. By this, he thinks he has deceived Allah, while Allah lets him do what he wants and doesn’t get in the way using different causes and doesn’t wake him from his sleep of ignorance. In reality, what has happened is that Allah has retaliated for this individual’s devising with His (God’s) own devising. This makes Allah’s devising a good one, because it is the retribution for devising, while man’s devising is the opposite and is rooted in his wretchedness.

So, it is actually one’s own devising that is hitting him, and this is what is meant by the devising of Allah.

Some sages, have drawn an analogy between Allah’s acts in response to man and the sun; the sun shines on everyone the same, but if an object obstructs the sunlight, a shadow will be made. Now if this object is straight or crooked, the resulting shadow will be the same. One’s ego is like a dark object that stands in the way of the light of Allah and causes darkness (such as chastisement, etc.). But if there is no egoism, it means that there will be no object in the way of the light and Allah’s light and mercy will encompass the individual. This is how Allah is with His pure servants and Satan has nothing to do with them. The more complex and complicated the hypocrite and deceitful person acts in his devising, the more Allah’s devising will be complicated (the same way it goes for the shadow; the more crooked the object, the more crooked the shadow), and as was said, it is the person who is the cause and no other, the same way the cause for the shadow was the object and not the sun, and of course, this is if there is a sun; if there was no sun, there would be no light and no darkness at all.

whats the five qualities of the Imam according to Quranic ayahs?


[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ubsequent to mentioning the story of rescuing Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Lut and granting Ibrahim (as) righteous children,[1] the Quran reflects on the imamah and leadership of this great Prophet and a number of values, plans and qualities pertaining to this divine position: “And we made them leaders, guiding (mankind) by our command, and we inspired in them the doing of good deeds, performing salat, and the giving of zakat and of us (alone) they were worshippers.”[2]

The above ayah indicates that the five qualities of the imam are as follows:

1. Calling the people to God.

2. Aspiring to do good and righteous deeds.

3. Upholding the ritual of prayer (salat).

4. Giving of zakat (charity).

5. Only worshipping Allah.

Precisely speaking, imamah is the manifestation and fulfillment of all divine plans, in other words, it is the implementation of takwini (generative) and tashri’i (legislative) guidance, which can be portrayed as the sun, that cultivates each and every living creature with its light.

The first quality of the imam is that: he guides the people to our noble cause (یهدون بامرنا), not only does he direct them to the right path; he actually walks those worthy through the path all the way to the final destination.[3]

The second, third and fourth endowment and quality of the imam is that we inspired in them the doing of good, performance of prayer and giving of zakat (و اوحینا الیهم فعل الخیرات و اقام الصلوة و ایتاء الزکاة).

This type of revelation can be a matter of tashri’i revelation, meaning that we included a variety of good deeds, the act of prayer and zakat in their religious doctrine, or it can be a matter of takwini revelation, indicating that we granted them the tawfiq (i.e., the opportunity), ability and strength to perform such things.

And in the fifth and last phrase, the Quran reflects on their obedience, saying: And of us (alone) they were worshippers (و کانوا لنا عابدین).[4]

Additionally, the expression (کانوا), that which implies continuance and persistence on this particular matter, suggests that they were pious and righteous believers prior to becoming prophets or imams and that it was for this very dedication to the divine that prepared them for new blessings from God.[5]
[1] Anbiya’:71 and 72.

[2] “و جعلناهم ائمة یهدون بامرنا و اوصینا الیهم فعل الخیرات و اقام الصلوة و ایتاء الزکوة و کانوا لنا عابدین” Anbiya’:73.

[3] Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 13, pg. 455, with some alteration.

[4] Ibid, pg. 456, with slight alteration.

[5] For further reading, see: Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 13, pp. 451-157; Pasdare Eslam‌ Magazine, no. 298, Sept. 2006, pg. 10, article on the imams and leaders of guidance.

Is Imam Ali capable of reviving the dead?

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]Asserting that someone can independently do so without God’s assistance is in absolute contradiction with tawhid af’ali (oneness in action), for death and life is solely in God’s hand.

However, if one were to carry out this act with God’s consent, it would then be considered probable and possible.

As stated in the Quran, God mentions Jesus (A.S.) saying: “I can make see thee who has been born blind and I can cure leprosy and with God’s will, revive the dead.”

In keeping with the above, not a single Muslim should doubt the occurrence of such a matter.

And since the Prophet of Islam, being the seal of Prophets, consists of a higher position and closer stance to Allah in relation to other Prophets including Prophet Jesus and in light of the Quran stating that Ali is the Prophet’s nafs (self), why would it seem improbable for the Prophet (sa) and Ali (as) to do what Prophet Jesus (as) did?

Can God bring into existence a stone so large that he himself is not able to lift?


[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne of the attributes of God is his unlimited and boundless power and omnipotence. This question has been asked and answered in fields such as philosophy and scholastic theology. It has also been explained multiple times in the Holy Quran. Yet, this belief in the unlimited power of God has brought up, since ancient times, certain issues and questions. One of these, is this very same question which is being asked now. This question has been asked in different forms and arrangements; yet the essence of the question still remains the same and probes the mystery of absolute divine power.

In order to answer this question, we must first explore the various types of impossibilities. Impossibilities, from one angle, can be divided into two sections. These are: 1. Logical impossibilities, and 2. Regular impossibilities.

Then, logical impossibilities are themselves divided into 2 sections, which are: A- Things impossible in their essence: These are matters which are impossible in their essence, without having to even come into existence in order to show their impossibility, for example, the co-existence of two contradictions. B- Things which aren’t impossible in their essence, but their coming about necessitates something which is impossible in its essence (impossibilities in occurrence). For example, the existence of an effect without having a cause.

Ordinary impossibilities are matters, which are impossible according to natural laws, but they are not impossible logically. For example, the miraculous changing of a staff into a serpent or the curing of the sick without medicine, or various other miracles. None of these are impossible logically, but it is our ignorance about their causes which makes us count them as practical impossibilities.

The power of God, as well as the power which people possess, is related to all things which are possible, while impossibilities are essentially outside of this circle of possibility. Therefore, in answering this question of whether God can create such a rock, which he cannot lift, it must be said that however great someone’s power may be, whether it is a lot or a little, and whether it is finite or infinite, it is a matter which relates to the world of possibilities (regular impossibilities being part of them) and not to impossibilities (the logical impossibilities).

Here, it may be said that if this is the case, then the power of God has become limited or finite and cannot be considered as infinite and limitless. In answering this question, we must keep in mind that God not being able to do an impossibility (in essence or in occurence) does not count as bringing any sort of limitation on the threshold of divine power. This is because these sorts of actions are in essence impossible to enact and don’t bear the potential to come into being. To summarize, these are things which are self limiting, in and of themselves; they are beyond being able to be done or not; power to do them or not isn’t even applicable to them and this is because of the deficiency they have in their own essences.

Imam Ali (a) was asked a similar question when someone said: “Can your God put the whole world into an egg, without making the world smaller or making the egg larger?” Imam (a) answered: “Weakness or inability are not characteristics which can be attributed to God, but what you have asked is something which is not possible to come into existence (it does not have the possibility of existence).”